Some new analysis done by Synapse Energy Economics, at the request of NRDC and Riverkeeper, shows that the state of New York could close the aging Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, without needing to bring additional electrical generating capacity online until 2020, due a surplus of power capacity in the regions surrounding the plant.
Indian Point's operating license expires in 2015. Relicensing the plant has been a contentious issue in the state for some time.
Located just 38 miles north of New York City, should the 2 GW power plant have an accident on the scale of that which took out the Fukushima plant in Japan, other new analysis by NRDC shows that it would be 10-100 times more costly -- Fukushima is estimated to cost at least $60 billion to clean up -- requiring the evacuation of millions, should a fallout plume extend southwards.
As for what should replace nuclear power in southern New York by 2020, here's the bulleted version, via NRDC (emphasis in original):
- About 1,550 MW in savings from new energy efficiency resources in the Indian Point region, beyond those that are already planned. Additional savings are available in the rest of the state.
- Nearly 600 MW of renewable energy capacity to meet peak electricity demand (and up to 3,000 MW total capacity) by 2015. In total, more than 6,000 MW of renewable energy projects like wind and solar are already in the planning process in the state.
- 8,000 MW from proposed new transmission lines to bring power to New York City from upstate New York and other regions, including the already approved 660 MW Hudson Transmission Line, and nearly 2,000 MW of lines are already well along in the approval process.
- More than 1,000 MW from increased efficiency at existing, outdated natural gas plants in New York City, which involves updating their technology to increase power output and reduce air emissions and other pollution.
Replacing Indian Point with this clean energy and energy efficiency efforts, will cost consumers however, though not very much at all: $1-5 per month additional on electricity bills. If energy efficiency makes up the bulk of the transition, the costs will be lower, the analysis points out.
Here's the original report: Indian Point Energy Center Nuclear Plant Retirement Analysis: Replacement Options, Reliability Issues and Economic Effects [PDF]